Attachmentsby Rainbow Rowell Published 14 Apr 2011
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"Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you..."
Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It's company policy.) But they can't quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.
Meanwhile, Lincoln O'Neill can't believe this is his job now—reading other people's e-mail. When he applied to be "internet security officer," he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers—not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.
When Lincoln comes across Beth's and Jennifer's messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can't help being entertained—and captivated—by their stories.
By the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late to introduce himself.
What would he say . . . ?
I had attempted to read this book a couple of weeks ago, but I wasn't feeling it and gave up after 40 pages. Man, am I happy that I gave it a second chance! This was so dang cute and surprisingly not cheesy despite the plot sounding like a total cheese-fest. I love how this wasn't just an adorable slow-building romance, but it also follows Lincoln and his difficulties with growing up and moving on. Definitely read this if you are a fan of Rainbow Rowell's other novels or romantic comedies!
December 2015: I love you, book.
(Sidenote: After my first re-read, this may not be my favorite Rainbow Rowell book anymore? I still love it beyond reason, but I think she's just matured so much as an author, Carry On or Fangirl might overtake it when I get to them. I guess we'll see!)
February 2013: Falling in love with a book is exactly like falling in love with a person. In both cases, most of the time you just can’t help yourself, and what happens during the falling is almost entirely out of your control. This is an especially appropriate metaphor to be making when talking about Rainbow Rowell’s delightful little book, Attachments, which is about a man falling in love in a very inappropriate way. This is what I wrote on Goodreads approximately one minute and thirty-one seconds after finishing the last page at 2 AM on Saturday night:
“FUCKING HELL, MAN. Why is this so . . . GUH . . . and it’s the middle of the night and I’M SO ALONE.”
I believe that sentence and my five star rating should speak for itself, but I would like to elaborate anyway because when you fall in love with something you want to tell everybody about it as loudly and in as many ways as possible.
Attachments takes place in 1999, just before the turn of the millennium and all the madness of Y2K (remember Y2K? It was like practice for the Mayan apocalypse!). Twenty-eight year old perpetual student Lincoln is fresh off his latest graduate degree and is stuck in a rut in basically every area of his life: he lives with his mother, he has no foreseeable career objectives (he can’t even figure out what it is that he might be good at), he has no social life to speak of excepting Saturday night games of D&D with his lifelong friends, and he hasn’t even attempted a romantic relationship since his heart was smashed into pieces eight years before by the girl he thought he’d be with forever.
As the novel opens, Lincoln has just taken a job in a Nebraska newspaper’s IT department where he is in charge of the newly developed email security program that monitors employee’s email accounts for inappropriate usage. It’s a bit of a creepy job reading other people’s emails and sending them warnings, not to mention tedious and boring, but it’s at least a job. He spends most of his time reading books and doing other non work-related activities. That is, until he accidentally becomes wrapped up in the correspondence of two employees, film critic Beth and copyeditor Jennifer, who are smart and funny and who little by little begin treating their work email accounts as a personal chat service. After about the fourth or fifth flagged conversation, Lincoln realizes it’s too late to send them a warning and with not a little guilt begins looking forward to each flagged email, especially when it becomes clear to him that not only is he developing feelings for Beth, but she has a little crush on him as well. The only problem is, if he wants to be with her, how can he do so knowing that he’s just spent a ridiculous amount of time violating her personal privacy?
The novel is a mix between Lincoln’s 3rd person POV and a delightful modern epistolary confection consisting of Jennifer and Beth’s increasingly personal emails to one another. Jennifer and Beth are immediately very likeable. Their conversations with one another are funny and warm and occasionally sort of surprisingly heart-rending. That they were so likeable is key, because the novel wouldn’t have worked if we as readers were not able to overcome the basic creepiness of Lincoln’s actions. We want Lincoln to keep reading about Jennifer and Beth because WE want to keep reading about Jennifer and Beth. His actions as Rowell writes them, while a bit icky, are also completely understandable. There’s also the fact that Lincoln himself is a wonderful character, and I quickly found myself wishing he was real because I have been looking for him all my life. But it’s not only that he’s likeable. His struggles as an aimless and confused young adult unsure of what he wanted to do with himself was one I could relate to in very specific ways. The sharp wit of Rowell’s dialogue and prose doesn’t hurt, either. This was also the perfect time period to set this book. The transition from tradition to technology at the newspaper echoes Lincoln’s own stumbling transition to adulthood.
This is probably not a book many other readers will give five stars to, but it hit all of my personal buttons in all the right ways. Like, to the point where I was all, Rainbow Rowell, either get out of my head or be my best friend. But even if you don’t fall crazy in love and over-identify with it like I did, it’s still worth checking out as the perfect example of this kind of romancey, character-driven novel. It’s well-written, funny, has great characters, and is overall a super-fun read. If you like good romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally and Love, Actually, just imagine that this is like a book version of that and you’ll have a pretty good idea. I am now eagerly anticipating the two (!) books Rainbow Rowell is publishing later this year.
This book would have been sooo much better if not for the pathetic characters.
A 29 year old nerd who has multiple degrees, lives with his mom, plays dungeons and dragons on the weekend, is cripplingly awkward and hasn't been able to get over his high school sweetheart breakup for the past NINE years.... BUT WAIT! LINCOLN ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE THIS:
Ya.... I don't get it either.
Lincoln works as an internet cop. He snoops through people's emails and web histories, to make sure no one is slacking off during work... welcome to the 90's.
Obviously, this is not the funnest job in the world; which is how Lincoln ends up amusing himself by reading the explicit emails between coworkers and friends, Beth & Jennifer.
Jennifer is infinitely terrified of getting pregnant, yet she possibly wants to since Mitch, her husband, wants a baby. When she finally does get pregnant she whines about it all the time but you can tell deep down she's happy. It's like the girl that complains all the time about this one guy who keeps flirting with her although she will encourage him and is enjoying the attention. Just shut up and stop being bitter and lying to yourself.
Beth on the other hand, has been dating an intense and flaky musician for the past 9 years. She's dying to get married and have kids. However, Chris, the B.F. is not interested. Que some more female whining.
Lincoln falls for Beth through the emails she sends to Jen, although he's never met her.
We follow the characters through their pathetic lives and how they all get over themselves, grow some balls and make life changing decisions... finally.
It's a cute idea which was executed poorly in my opinion. The characters did not have to be disgustingly weak.
I did enjoy Beth and Jen's emails. They were witty and amusing. I also admire the author's decision of attempting a Chick Lit. from a man's POV. We have countless of Chick Lit's starring pathetic females. In this one we have a pathetic male instead.
Interesting, yet not fulfilling.
Brilliant! I loved everything about it, definitely a new favorite. <3
This was such a good book! It's one of those books that just makes you feel ridiculously happy. I'm glad that booksplosion chose it as the book of the month for May!
Reread 6/13/18: Welp I still completely adore this book. It definitely features some iffy stereotypes at times, but I still can’t help but to get the warmest of fuzzies every single time I read this book. Lincoln is the cutest and I just die every time 😍
Reread 11/3/17: Re-read this for TBT this month and I mean is anyone at all surprised that I still adored this? Look out for my TBT video going up next week to hear more in depth thoughts!
Reread 9/26/16: Re-read this and I definitely still love this book more than I love any other book. Lincoln is the fictional love of my life. Sawoooooon
Reread 7/29/14: I love this book so much it makes me want to cry. I love it and love it and love it without needing any space. Definitely my favorite contemporary book of all time.